Viernes, 22 de agosto de 2014

At a time when, in the words of former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, “the world is a mess,” it’s disturbing to see and read ugly depictions of Cyprus as though it’s a war zone.

Accordingly, I was disappointed to open up a recent copy of The Washington Times and discover an op-ed by Victor Davis Hanson (“Occupation hypocrisy: Gaza vs. Cyprus,” Aug. 14), implying that our situation is little different from the missile launches and airstrikes in Gaza and Israel, and a cartoon depicting blood from a Turkish flag dripping on one belonging to Greek Cyprus.

Both fail to acknowledge the most basic of realities: Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots haven’t fired bullets at each other in decades.…  Seguir leyendo »

The U.N. Security Council delegation visiting South Sudan last week came face-to-face with a troubling reality: The country has been seized by an eight-month civil war between parties that have committed violence against civilians on a devastating scale.

The result is an unprecedented challenge for the organization, which now finds itself protecting almost 100,000 people seeking refuge from the conflict in peacekeeping bases across South Sudan. Yet despite the high cost and risk, the U.N. should be prepared to host and protect them for months, if not years, to come.

This crisis ignited on December 15, when fighting broke out between the President of South Sudan Salva Kiir and his former Vice President Riek Machar along with other opposition leaders.…  Seguir leyendo »

In recent months, the terrorist group known within the U.S. government as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has seized significant territory inside Iraq, exploiting sectarian divisions and political mistrust that sapped the strength of Iraqi forces. ISIL seeks to rip Iraq apart in its quest to establish a caliphate. But Iraq’s communities have started to unite in pushing back.

Since more than 13 millionIraqis cast their ballots in April despite threats from ISIL to kill anyone who voted, Iraqis have convened a new parliament, selected a speaker and president and designated a new prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, to form a new government.…  Seguir leyendo »

ISIS demanded 100 million euros ($132.5 million) in ransom for the release of James Foley, the American journalist kidnapped and killed by the terrorist group in Syria, according to a spokesman for GlobalPost, the news website for which Foley freelanced.

It was never a serious demand, far exceeding the amounts of money paid for hostages held by jihadist militant groups in the past, which typically ranged up to several million dollars.

But the demand does shine a light on two uncomfortable facts about «Kidnap & Ransom,» or K&R, the dark netherworld of professionals who work to negotiate between murderous groups like ISIS and the terrified families whose loved ones have been kidnapped.…  Seguir leyendo »

A hundred and fifty years ago to the day, the first Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field was adopted, enshrining the idea in international law that even in times of war, a certain degree of humanity must be preserved.

Switzerland and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which together helped to secure acceptance for international humanitarian law on the world stage at that time, are now calling for stricter compliance with this principle, as there remains a lack of effective mechanisms for encouraging compliance around the globe.…  Seguir leyendo »

The raging epidemic of Ebola virus disease in West Africa underscores the urgent need for international cooperation for emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. With its epicenter in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, the World Health Organization reports that the virus has killed over 1,000 people in the affected countries.

Ebola is a highly dreaded disease. With a fatality rate of about 70 percent, the virus has no cure or vaccine. It spreads through contact with infected bodily fluids, organs or contaminated environments. Early symptoms like fever, muscle pain, headache and fatigue are followed by vomiting leading to internal hemorrhaging and organ failures, and external bleeding from the eyes, ears and mouth.…  Seguir leyendo »

Strategically speaking, the Iron Dome antimissile shield, precisely because of its effectiveness, has been disastrous for Israel: It has saved Hamas from destruction and it has helped to seriously undermine Israel’s image as a civilized state in the eyes of many in the West.

During the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, Iron Dome has efficiently protected Israel from massive damage and casualties. Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the other terrorist organizations operating in the Gaza Strip had launched 2,648 rockets against Israel, and that was before a temporary cease-fire was broken Tuesday. Most fell in empty fields. The 600-odd rockets that had accurately targeted towns and villages were almost all successfully intercepted by Iron Dome’s Tamir missiles — a nearly 90% success rate, according to the Israel Defense Forces.…  Seguir leyendo »

Se trata de sexo. No se trata de sexo. Esta frase es cierta, pero aquella excita más interés, y vende más periódicos. El Tribunal Supremo de los Estados Unidos acaba de decidir el tal llamado caso Hobby Lobby, que, según la mayor parte de los medios y la opinión minoritaria del Tribunal, pronunciada por la jueza Ruth Ginsburg, gira sobre la libertad sexual de las mujeres.

El caso se ha entendido mal -incluso por los jueces- porque las necesidades de ajustar los argumentos al marco jurisprudencial, y el apetito del público por reducir al sexo cuestiones moralmente y políticamente complejas, han ocultado los elementos más importantes de su resonancia política y social.…  Seguir leyendo »

Hace exactamente 150 años se adoptó la primera Convención de Ginebra para aliviar la suerte de los militares heridos en campaña, que consagraba en derecho internacional la idea de que, incluso en tiempos de guerra, es indispensable preservar un mínimo de humanidad. Actualmente, Suiza y el Comité Internacional de la Cruz Roja (CICR), que en aquel entonces contribuyeron a impulsar el derecho internacional humanitario en el plano internacional, trabajan para promover el respeto de este principio en todo el mundo, dado que siguen sin existir mecanismos eficaces que garanticen su cumplimiento.

Evidentemente, las guerras contemporáneas no tienen ya nada que ver con las masacres del siglo XIX.…  Seguir leyendo »

Españoles en Gurs

Lo primero que llama la atención al llegar es la altura de los árboles y la frondosidad del bosque. No porque los árboles sean más altos que otros de la vecindad, ni porque el bosque sea más tupido que otros muchos que pueblan el Bearn, frescos en verano, gélidos en invierno. Lo que ocurre es que uno no esperaba encontrar allí un bosque. Ni mucho menos que, tras comprender que solo puede tener unas décadas, fuera tan compacto, tan oscuro y silvestre. Sorprende el empuje de la naturaleza, parejo al de aquellas películas de ciencia ficción donde la Estatua de la Libertad figura en medio de la selva o mecida por las olas.…  Seguir leyendo »

La épica trágica griega siempre apuntaba a la catarsis en su desenlace. Ella apuntaba a purificar los sentimientos por medio del arte. Podía con todo: con la derrota, con la humillación, incluso con la racionalidad. El martes por la noche, la presidente argentina Cristina Fernández de Kirchner dio un discurso que a pesar de haber sido grabado con antelación incluía imágenes de la mandataria al borde de las lágrimas. Cristina se quebraba al recordar a su difunto esposo y predecesor, confesándose “nerviosa”.

Es difícil imaginar a la canciller alemana Angela Merkel o al primer ministro japonés Shinzo Abe en esa situación.…  Seguir leyendo »

Este año conmemoramos el bimilenario de la muerte de Octavio Augusto. Bajo su mandato –al inicio de la primera centuria cristiana y como un logro más de la Pax Augusta o Paz Octaviana–, una Roma esplendorosa culmina la romanización de nuestro suelo y otorga conciencia de unidad a esta tierra y a sus gentes. Lo que era solo un mero accidente geográfico, sin otra identidad que su configuración peninsular, se convierte –por vez primera y con fecunda proyección histórica hasta hoy– en trabada y gozosa realidad política de convivencia en común.

El título de esta Tercera constituye una oración compuesta por dos sustantivos unidos por un verbo: Roma, una realidad histórica que fue; España, una sustantividad histórica que es; y «conformar», un verbo que actúa como copulativo y ofrece, con su prístino sentido, un significado equivalente a «constituir», como consecuencia de «concordar».…  Seguir leyendo »

La falta de base legal en el ordenamiento jurídico catalán y español parece hacer inviable una consulta refrendaria, sustanciada en el enunciado de la famosa pregunta del sí-sí. De hecho, todo el mundo empieza a estar de acuerdo; unos claramente, otros a regañadientes. Pero esta constatación no quita ni una brizna de legitimidad ni de razón a la voluntad política que muchísimos catalanes quieren expresar, respondiendo a la repetida pregunta, y decidir así el futuro de Catalunya como nación. De ahí la tramitación de la ley de Consultas por el Parlament de Catalunya.

Sin embargo, España se siente y es también una nación desde hace ya algunos siglos.…  Seguir leyendo »

En 2009, une coalition s’est formée autour de Mir Hossein Moussavi et Mehdi Karoubi, qui représentaient les éléments religieux modérés face à Mahmoud Ahmadinejad et à ses alliés au sein des Gardiens de la révolution islamique (IRGC) et de la milice islamiste bassidji.

Ahmadinejad était supposé l’emporter facilement mais, alors que la campagne électorale progressait, il devint évident, au bout d’un mois, que quelque chose était en train de se passer. Un jour après l’annonce du résultat de l’élection présidentielle donnant Ahmadinejad vainqueur, des centaines de milliers de personnes envahirent les rues de Téhéran pour protester. Le peuple voulait du changement.…  Seguir leyendo »

Enough Hate for Everyone

A few years ago, I was a guest on “Start the Week,” a BBC radio discussion show. Among the other guests was the novelist Eva Figes, a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany and a fierce critic of Israel. Israel, she suggested, would have built gas chambers to exterminate the Palestinians but for the fear it would “be found out.”

What astonished me was not simply Ms. Figes’s comment itself, but the fact that I was the only one who challenged her on it. The other guests may well have felt that a Holocaust survivor had some special license to speak harshly about Israel; I certainly don’t see them as anti-Semitic.…  Seguir leyendo »

As Ukraine battles separatists and Russia appears poised to invade, many historians and scholars are warning of ominous similarities to the outbreak of World War I in 1914. But they are ignoring a more important comparison: 1941.

The United States and Europe have until now relied almost exclusively on the threat of severe economic sanctions to prevent a Russian invasion of Ukraine. But sanctions — even crippling ones — won’t necessarily avert this.

For 20 years, economic sanctions have become Washington’s preferred policy to demonstrate resolve without using force. Yet the United States has not imposed harsh sanctions on major powers; Iran has been the toughest target, and it hasn’t unconditionally surrendered its nuclear program.…  Seguir leyendo »